Friendships From Across the World

Cheers Friends Drink Wine

Photo Credit: Didriks

While many LRNGO users meet to learn from each other locally in the same city, or even from a neighbor down the street, others choose to make their community much wider and go around the world. Of course, this requires using a live video chat platform, like Facetime, Google Hangouts or Skype.

One of the things you may find interesting though, is that even among those LRNGO users using video chat, the percentage who prefer to learn from each other remotely when they have a choice is still the minority. When given the choice, roughly 75% of you prefer to list meeting in-person rather than online.

This reminds us that for the majority, although technology is used to facilitate, in the case where you have a choice, face to face is preferable. At the end of the day, learning from each other (especially one-to-one) is most often still a very traditional in-person proposition.

Along those lines, some of you who are Skyping each other from afar for language exchange specifically may be interested in eventually meeting in person if it can be arranged. While facilitating these arrangements directly is beyond the scope of the introductory services we provide through LRNGO, you may be interested to know that there is now a website and online platform doing this.

Launched just last month, TalkTalkBnb is a social network for learning languages from local hosts while traveling. The idea is that travelers receive complimentary food and lodging from hosts (people wanting to improve their language skills) in exchange for helping the hosts learn and practice the traveler’s native language throughout their stay.

We all know that language exchange is valuable for accelerating the learning process and is the most cost effective way to receive the benefits of one-to-one language tutoring, but now it can also be used as a means of “currency” for your travels. That’s a real win/win.

You can find out more here, and hopefully some of you who have met here on LRNGO and are now practicing language exchange remotely can have the opportunity to travel and meet in person by bartering for accommodations. It’s a pretty cool concept that we hope takes off around the world.

Top Five Ways to Fail Your Internship Interview

Young Man In Suit Holding Rock

Whether it’s your first job or an internship, the interview is arguably the most important step in the hiring process.

While each job may have different dynamics and each job provider may have different needs, there are some universal qualities that most all employers are looking for.


Here are five sure things you can do that, in my view, are guaranteed to make your first prospective employer pass.


1. Cancel or Reschedule On the Day of the Interview

Stuff happens and it might not be fair, but most employers know that if it starts that way, it usually ends that way. By canceling on the same day, you’re projecting that either the internship is not a high priority, or you’re going to have trouble making it there. Either way, it’s not good. If the internship is one that you really want and there’s any small doubt you’ll have trouble arriving, reschedule in advance to make sure you’ll be there the day of.


2. Avoid Answering Questions

You may get some questions you don’t know the answer to and that’s fine, but you don’t want to simply avoid an answer (you know, the way politicians do). Example: “Can you tell me about a time when you failed?” “Well, I think I’ve always been lucky enough not to have any serious failures…” Another example: “What interests you about this internship and our company?” “Well, I’m looking for an internship in IT.”



3. Don’t Research the Company Before the Interview

Ok, so far so good. You have a good rapport with the interviewer, you have his or her attention, and you seem like a good fit for the internship. Now here it comes: “Can you describe what our company does?” “Well, I’m not exactly sure…” That answer, or one that is completely off base, will probably put you in the “no” pile.

By not knowing what the company you are applying for does, what you’re projecting is that:

a) You don’t care enough to do your research

b) You’re looking for whatever

c) You don’t know how you will contribute

How could you if you didn’t take the time to figure out why they exist?



4. Have Misaligned Goals

Ever wonder about that question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, and why you hear that at every interview? Answer with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the internship, and you can probably keep looking elsewhere. For example: if you’re interviewing for an IT position, your five year goal probably shouldn’t be to become a famous writer of romance novels.


5. Project that You’re Not a Team Player

Example: “What were your responsibilities on the team when you worked on that project?” “Well the guys on my team sucked so bad, I had to go off and fix everything.” There’s a reason Google doesn’t hire lone wolfs. Even if you’re great, you have to be able to pass the ball to win the game. Alternatively, here’s an even worse answer from the other side: “I didn’t really do any of the code on that project, I just put it on my resume since I was part of the group.”  This shows that you are ok with not contributing anything.


In the end, it helps to remember the universal fact that above all else, an employer wants to know if you are the right fit.  A big part of that is you wanting to be there and learn. Clearly, there are other ways to fail and not get the internship you want, but these are five of the most common.



Small Group Tutoring or Private One-to-One, Which is Right for You?

Empty Lecture HallIf you are considering tutoring, or thinking about tutoring as an option for you or your child, this question is one of the most common.

The most institutionalized and common answer is that you should get a personal one-to-one tutor if you can afford it, but the answer may be more challenging when it comes down to the actual application, quality and diversity of content.

Of course, the traditional education system teaches us in group settings. Throw 30 students and a teacher in the classroom, and you have the most economically scalable and effective way to meet educational needs. But, then, why do so many students fall through the cracks of the system? Why do we have an average of 7,000 dropout high school students a day? Many argue it’s because we teach “to the test,”or that there’s an intersectional bias between race, class, and the level of education you are eligible to receive.

Some would say that, sadly, the results are diminishing: the need for tutors is rising, the racial disparity spanning over an ever increasing educational gap is getting harder and harder to breach, and the system is failing those whom it was meant to benefit most. For this reason, the argument goes, establishing a backup system that picks up the slack for the system itself is the cornerstone to a well-educated society, and making an A on that next math test. But how do you know if group tutoring is the right option for you, and how do you know if individual tutoring is worth the extra money? The answer is in the “Why?”.

If applicable, WHY is the traditional classroom setting not working for you?  If you’re looking for a tutor to help you with something you are not taking a class in, this question may not apply to you. (For instance: if you are a middle aged individual looking for guitar lessons, or you need training on how to file your taxes.) However, if you are a student in search of a tutor for a class you are currently enrolled in (or will be enrolled in), it’s a good idea to figure out why your particular classroom setting is not working.

If it’s because there are too many students and you can’t get your questions answered or your instructor is too overwhelmed to offer individual attention, group lessons might give you the opportunity to learn the material and ask the questions you need without an exorbitant price tag. In that situation, perhaps personal instruction is overkill.

On the other hand, if you are falling significantly behind in course material,  have a learning style that is not common, have physical or mental considerations that affect your learning, need to learn hands-on subjects, or are searching for a tutor for a specific skill that you have absolutely no base knowledge of, individual tutoring may be more appropriate, and may even be required.

Have you tried either option before? Do you have any recommendations? If you have tried either option before and know that said option works for you, stick with it. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you know anyone who has gotten a tutor in the subject area you are searching for, ask them for their preference. Word of mouth can be the most reliable tool, especially if that person can recommend a tutor in your needed niche or if they have a similar learning style. Because of the professional as well as the human side of one-to-one learning, finding an individual mentor or tutor who is the right fit is a numbers game, so internet marketplaces (like LRNGO and others) can improve your chances.

I can’t stress this enough, consider how you learn. I know I’ve already mentioned this twice, but figuring out how you learn and what is and isn’t working is the key. Make sure you communicate your style of learning to your tutor so he/she can tailor their lessons and teaching style. In addition, if there’s a textbook or a curriculum on the subject that fits your goals, outlining these pages and adding online quizzes to test your knowledge and development at certain stages can also be helpful.

Ultimately, deciding if a tutor or a small group class is right for you can be a difficult decision. The traditional education model does not always work for everyone, and having a tutor is in no way a sign of weakness, but instead can be the quickest way to build confidence. The next step is deciding if group tutoring or one to one mentorship is necessary. Ask around, think about what’s working for you and what isn’t, and decide which method will better pander to your way of learning.

At the end of the day, learning how you learn best is often the key to making that A.



Emma Wu is an undergraduate student at Bryn Mawr College pursuing her side passion of oppression theory and educational reformation. She worked as a volunteer art teacher for two years at an underprivileged elementary school in Philadelphia, and serves as a co-teacher for Advancement of Mexican Americans programs across the city of Houston.